The news spread quickly last night as a couple of reports surfaced that Tony Stewart wanted out of the final year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, which runs through 2009.
According to the reports, Stewart wants to join Haas CNC Racing, nabbing a 50 percent ownership stake in the process.
Expect a testy Stewart at Talladega as no doubt he'll be asked about these rumors ad nauseum.
Where it goes from here is anybody's guess.
The only reason I'm not completely laughing the rumor off is that Haas CNC receives engines and support from Hendrick Motorsports, so in all practicality it's a satellite operation. But even with that support, Haas CNC is a NASCAR bottomfeeder. Why would Stewart want to leave one of NASCAR's great teams for that?
I can't imagine that even the addition of Stewart would do much to change the fortunes of Haas CNC. Since Danica Patrick's win this past weekend, I've been on my soapbox that success is about more than a driver. It takes great personnel from the top to bottom of an organization. A driver can't do it alone.
Now I'm not saying the rumor isn't totally without merit. I don't doubt that Stewart may want out. When Joe Gibbs Racing made the switch to Toyota, my thought from the start was that Stewart would eventually want out to rejoin forces with Chevrolet. But Haas CNC Racing?
There's a couple of Chevrolet scenarios that make a bit more sense to me.
1. Stewart buys a stake in Haas CNC, but signs to drive for Hendrick Motorsports -- after all, the generic version is never as good as the brand name. Mears gets shipped from the No. 25 to one of the Haas CNC rides.
2. Richard Childress Racing has a fourth seat to fill starting next and Stewart is good buddies with Kevin Harvick. If he's that's interested in ownership, perhaps he could by into Harvick's team.
That's all pure speculation on my part, but would make a lot more sense than Stewart simply wanting to leave JGR for Haas CNC unless he has become bored with success.
With the kettle now in full bubble mode, don't expect this to die down unless/until Stewart signs an extension with JGR.